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LUGALBANDA by Kathy Henderson Kirkus Star


The Boy Who Got Caught Up in a War: An Epic Tale from Ancient Iraq

adapted by Kathy Henderson & illustrated by Jane Ray

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-2782-8
Publisher: Candlewick

Piecing together and recasting ancient Sumerian texts, Henderson tells a tale even older than the epic of Gilgamesh—about Gilgamesh’s father, in fact, as a young prince who accompanies his own father King Enmerkar to war and plays an important role in bringing it to a peaceful end. Marching with the army of Uruk, Lugalbanda falls so ill that he is left behind in a cave. Recovering, he wanders in the Lullubu Mountains until he comes upon the hatchling of the monstrous Anzu bird. Feeding rather than killing it, he earns from its grateful parent the ability to run without tiring, and so becomes a messenger for his father, locked in a long siege, and the goddess Inana, who sends a promise that Uruk will conquer only if the rival city under attack is spared from destruction. Ray matches Henderson’s fluent, dramatic storytelling with richly decorated scenes of a small, almond-eyed everylad courageously facing illness, loneliness, huge, bloody-beaked birds and other challenges. Handsomely packaged and sandwiched between detailed historical notes, this oldest of written stories still carries particular meaning for modern readers—especially considering its Middle Eastern setting. (Folktale. 9-11)